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Assessing climate vulnerability of World Heritage properties - coral reefs and beyond

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018
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Tue, Dec 4, 2018 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM PST

Abstract: Heat stress events have increasingly caused severe bleaching and mortality of coral reefs around the world as the ocean has rapidly warmed over the past three decades. Of 29 World Heritage-listed coral reef properties, 15 were exposed to recurrent severe heat stress during the record-setting 2014-2017 global bleaching event. Beyond acute heat stress events, virtually all World Heritage properties in general are subject to other increasing climate pressures. Assessing the climate vulnerability of all World Heritage properties requires a rapid assessment framework that is applicable to natural, cultural and mixed properties; however, no such tool exists. The Climate change Vulnerability Index (CVI) has been developed to identify key climate drivers projected to affect World Heritage, assessing impacts to the attributes leading to World Heritage designations and to the human communities and industries directly associated with the properties. The concept of the CVI was presented during the 2018 meeting of the World Heritage Committee, and has support from the World Heritage advisory bodies.